Let’s learn a bit about what varicose veins are, risk factors to look out for, and what you can do to help relieve symptoms you might be experiencing.
How Varicose Veins Form
Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that are easily seen through the skin. While any superficial vein can become a varicose vein, they are more likely to form in your legs because standing and walking upright, in addition to sitting in certain positions or for long periods of time, increases the pressure in the veins in your legs.
Varicose veins form when their valves become weak or damaged. In the circulatory system, arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart through the body in order to give nutrients to each of your cells. Afterward, your veins carry the deoxygenated blood through the body and back to the heart so that it can again be oxygenated and recirculated.
Evaluating the Valves
For the blood to make its way all the way back to your heart, the veins in your legs have to work against gravity. Muscles in your lower legs contract to help pump the blood back to your heart, and this is aided by the elasticity of your veins.
Your veins have tiny valves in them that open as blood flows towards your heart and then close to keep the blood from flowing backward. But, these valves can become weak or damaged, which often results in deoxygenated blood leaking backward and pool into the vein. As this continues to happen, more blood pools, and the vein begins to stretch and twist.
Most varicose veins do not actually cause any pain. If you aren’t experiencing any pain but think you may have varicose veins, some signs to look out for are veins that are dark purple or blue in color or veins that appear twisted and bulging.
Although less common, there are some painful symptoms of varicose veins you might experience. You might notice an achy or heavy feeling in your legs. It’s possible that you will feel burning, throbbing, swelling, and muscle cramping in your lower legs. You might experience worsened pain after sitting or standing for long periods of time. The skin around your varicose veins might feel itchy and may appear discolored.
Anybody can get varicose veins, but there are some risk factors that make you more likely to develop them.
Your risk of developing varicose veins increases as you grow older. As we age, our bodies slowly weaken, including the valves and veins that help to regulate your blood flow. With enough wear and tear, the valves may become weakened to the point that they allow some blood to flow backward into your veins and collects there, rather than continue to your heart.
Women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men. No one is sure for certain why this is, but in the best guess is it has to do with varying hormone levels during menstruation and menopause. Additionally, hormone treatments like birth control can further weaken your vein walls and increase your risk of varicose veins.
During pregnancy, your blood volume increases to support the growing fetus. However, this can also result in the veins in your legs becoming varicose.
If you have a family history of varicose veins, it’s more likely that you will also develop them at some point.
Varicose veins form in part as a response to increased pressure on your legs and the veins in them. So, it makes sense that the more weight you carry, the more pressure on your veins.
Lack of Movement
The health of your circulatory system depends on blood flow, and your blood doesn’t flow as well if you stay in the same position for long periods of time. Standing or sitting for a long time on a regular basis can increase your risk of developing varicose veins.
There’s no way to completely ensure that you do not develop varicose veins, but there are things you can do to decrease your chances of developing them. These preventative measures can also be used to decrease symptoms if your varicose veins have already formed, as well as prevent them from getting worse.
Your leg muscles are your biggest allies when it comes to preventing varicose veins because your veins need healthy and strong leg muscles to effectively work the deoxygenated blood back to the heart against gravity.
Move throughout the Day
If you work at an office, it’s easy to spend long stretches of the day sitting. It’s important that you remember to take regular breaks to stand up and walk for a short while. This forces your leg muscles to help push the blood back to the heart more effectively than while you are sitting.
Standing still for long periods of time also increases your chances of developing varicose veins. If your job requires that, take breaks where you can sit for a while.
Put Your Feet Up
Whenever it’s possible during the day, put your feet up to help the blood flow back to your heart. If you have a job that requires you to sit or stand for long periods of time, this can be an extremely useful strategy to combat the development of varicose veins.
You can buy compression hose at your local pharmacy, or you can ask your doctor for prescription-strength compression hose. These help keep pressure on the ankle and lower leg and encourage blood to move back toward your heart.
Supportive Panty Hose
If you could use some extra support but don’t require the high level of compression that is offered by compression hose, try supportive pantyhose. These offer some level of compression to your ankles and lower legs, but not as much as actual compression hose. However, this amount of compression is adequate for many individuals with varicose veins.
Although it is rare for varicose veins to have complications, there are some you should be aware of.
It’s possible for painful ulcers to form on the skin around varicose veins, especially around ones near the ankles. You might notice a discolored spot on the skin before an ulcer forms. If you think you might have an ulcer forming, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Varicose veins almost always happen superficially, or near the skin. However, veins deep within the legs can occasionally become enlarged. If this happens, the leg may swell and become painful. If you have any persistent leg pain or swelling, you need to get medical attention immediately because it can indicate a blood clot.
Occasionally, varicose veins that are near the skin might burst. This should only cause minor bleeding, but it’s still important to see a doctor.
Get Rid of Your Varicose Veins
Whether your varicose veins make your legs achy and swollen, or you are just tired of dealing with the unattractive, blue markings on your legs, it’s never a bad time for varicose veins treatment. These treatments have been proven to instantly get rid of varicose veins, and any pain that comes along with them.
Let yourself feel the sun on your skin without the worry of varicose veins, and get varicose veins treatments near me today. For any questions or to schedule a consultation, call us today at Coastal Vein, in Corona Del Mar, CA.
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